Saturday, March 13, 2010

5280 Rant!

Perhaps it's been too long, but I'm back, I'm back with a vengeance. For those of you unfamiliar with 5280/Denver Restaurant Week, it's a week-long (or two weeks) celebration of local restaurants. Many of the restaurants offer a menu for $52.80 per couple. What's great about this time period is that it gets people out there enjoying some of the better restaurants in Denver. $52.80 per couple is a steal at many of these places, and you might try a restaurant that you would otherwise be hesitant to try. One could make the argument that it is like the Black Friday for restaurants, which is partially why it has been extended to two week the past couple of years. At the better restaurants in town, reservation are very hard to find. Anyways, you know how much I enjoy this time of year, read the reviews. Now it's time to rant.

Rant #1: The "Too-good-for-Restaurant-Week" Restaurant. I'm not referring to the restaurants that opt not to participate in this exciting culinary fortnight. This is for the restaurants that, for some reason, feel pressured to join in. If you're going to partake, you better bring it. Do we need to send the sassy cheerleader from Compton in Bring it On to force them to bring their A game? I'm calling out Frank Bonanno, chef/owner of Mizuna, Luca D'Italia, and Bones. These restaurants are highly rated, each of them made the top 25 in 5280's recent article. Unfortunately, he provides very weak menus at each restaurant during this week. Two main entree courses at Mizuna and Luca D'Italia and only one at Bones. All offered a very weak dessert. Really, Chef? Don't bother. I would love to try each of these places, but not with such a 'blah' menu. Give people a reason to come back outside of restaurant week.

Rant #2: The "You don't even have real chefs" Restaurant. Restaurant Week is a time where people should be trying restaurants they wouldn't normally go to, not restaurants that specialize in horrible commercials. Someone needs to serve as the Czar of Restaurant Week (Please nominate me). I would like to call each of these restaurants out by name: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (runs Forrest runs, I got the runs!), Carrabba's Italian Grill (mmmmm, slightly better than Olive Garden, that wasn't a compliment), Hacienda Colorado (who spends a lot of money on Mexican food? not Mexicans), Hard Rock Cafe (does that include a free t-shirt?), Lodo's Bar & Grill (I hope several buckets of beer are included), Nick-N-Willy's Take-N-Bake Pizza (really? $52.80 and I still have to make my own pizza. . . thanks), Outback Steakhouse (wow, it's called Outback, so you know where to run to throw up), P.F. Chang's China Bistro (Bistro is French, but the food is Chinese? I don't get this), Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (how many things stuffed inside a fish will $52.80 get me?), Pizza Republica (if pizza is in your name then you are ripping people off), Rio Grande Restaurant (go talk to Hacienda), Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery (show up here and you've hit Rock Bottom), Saltgrass Steakhouse (how creative, let's name it after what the cows eat and what goes on the steak), Ted's Montana Grill (thanks Ted Turner for finding a new way to rip people off!), The Dusty Boot Steakhouse & Saloon (Dusty Boot? name it after something clean if you want me to eat here), The Melting Pot (fondue? 1970 called and it wants its restaurant back), Wingin' It (if you spend $52.80 on wings, that pain in your arm means you're having a heart attack), Wynkoop Brewing Company ($52.80 gets you three courses and a ticket to their comedy club, but they'll be laughing at you, not with you).

Rant #3: Snotty waiters during 5280. I've had little experience with nasty waiters during this time, as I believe many are thankful for the great increase in business. However, I did hear one story that angered me greatly. A couple went out to the Melting Pot last year and the waiter said how he hated 5280 week due to the number of people who only tip off of the $52.80 amount. Really??!! Are you serious??!! That's how much it costs. Since when do I make up how much I think this might have cost and tip you off of that? There are no coupons or BOGO deals during 5280 week. Plus, it's the Melting Pot. People dip tiny pieces of meat in hot oil. What's the cost of materials on 2 oz of filet and 3 shrimp? $5? Please, get over yourself.

Trust me when I say that 5280 week is my favorite week of the year. I had to get that those things off my chest. Now where did I put my toast for my escargot?